Prepare Now, for Time is Short
As I prepare more for my hike this next Spring I keep telling people how much I wish it was already March so I could be on trail heading north to Maine. The truth is though, if I woke up tomorrow and it was March I would be ill-prepared to make it the whole way. First off, I’m leaving kids and a house behind and I still need a few pieces of key gear, not to mention all the meals I’m making ahead of time for my drop boxes. So much preparation to do!
Recently, I made my own hammock so I could try out floating on a cloud to sleep, I’ve been a lifelong ground sleeper and I’m still deciding whether or not it will be a permanent change. If this is the route I choose to stick with then I will need to purchase or make the remaining items that will be needed to make this my new permanent sleep system. Some of those things will be a tarp, underquilt and top quilt; I’m more than capable of making them myself, I just need to time and resources to do it.
You can only eat so many packages of Knorr Sides and instant potatoes before you want something new for dinner, so I’ve been doing a lot of research into making my own meals. I’ve done a lot of dehydrating over the last month and so far I just have a lot of fruit that will mostly go into various breakfast meals like oatmeal. I will be dehydrating pasta in the near future so I can use that with some of the homemade meals, like chili macaroni! I have a portable vacuum packer, but it really won’t be suitable for packaging all the meals I plan to prepare ahead of time for this trip; it’s designed to work with a Ziploc type bag that has a small valve on it, which will be perfect for my homemade granola and other snacks. After the new year I plan to pick up a nice Foodsaver, possibly this one, and get to the grind of food prep. I bought a monster pack of oxygen absorbers off Amazon, they are an absolute must when vacuum packing foods that aren’t going in a freezer.
Obviously, the most important thing is that I’m leaving behind three teenagers that are quite capable of looking after themselves, but they will need assistance with making sure the house doesn’t burn down; I have an awesome friend that will be helping out with that part. I’m fortunate that they are all older teens, so they shouldn’t need much apart from food and being taken to the occasional appointment that might come up. My oldest even decided to go with all internet based classes at college this Spring so he will be home the whole time to make sure things don’t go horribly wrong. I feel bad leaving them behind to fend for themselves, but after I finish my hike I hope I am an inspiration for them to follow their dreams no matter how ridiculous they may seem.
The reality of all this is that March will be here very soon, as most people notice when you get older time truly does fly by fast. To me it feels like it was just a couple weeks ago that I decided I was going to be a 2016 thru-hiker, but it was almost three-months ago when the idea first popped in my head. Take the time you have now to prepare and get everything in order, I’ve had a lot of practice at the being away from my family part from my military days, but all the additional stuff that the military just provided while I was gone (food!) is the stuff that I need to supply myself with this time around. Leaving my young kids behind was always the most difficult thing to do in the past, but I managed it.
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